Ms. Satomi Wadami Elected as a Member of Japan Olympic Team

 The other day, I received the delightful news that Ms. Satomi Wadami ,a cyclist born in Tottori Prefecture, was elected as a member of Japan’s national team for the Beijing Olympic Games. I wish Ms. Wadami the best of luck.

Number of Tourists Who Visited Tottori during the Golden Week Holidays

 During the Golden Week Holidays, Tottori Prefecture was positively humming with tourist activity. I have a feeling that Tottori’s hospitality is helping our prefecture develop gradually into a sightseeing mecca that will continue to draw lots of periodic visitors.  In particular, the Tottori Sand Dune attracted 170,000 visitors, and Kitaro Road in Sakaininato City 230,000 visitors. I have the impression that these results bode very well, as do those of the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, all in the Sanin Region (Shimane and Tottori Prefectures).

Extended Opening Hours of Tottori Prefectural Museum

 Beginning on April, the opening hours of the Tottori Prefectural Museum have been extended to 7:00 P.M. It’s in the trial stage now, but I hope that many people will visit the museum during these hours.

Suicide Using Hydrogen Sulfide

 There was a tragic report of suicide using hydrogen sulfide during the Golden Week Holidays. The emergency response went smoothly, but we need to make a lesson of this incident in order to formulate plans for how to respond to such cases in the future among three fire departments, Disaster Prevention Bureau and the police department in Tottori Prefecture. For one thing, it’s crucial to have reserves of neutralizer and confirm the procedures for quick response.  The Tottori Prefecture sent out messages twice during the holidays for those who are contemplating suicide. We will continue urging them to value their own lives and consult people around them so that they may not suffer further distress.

Caravan Campaign for Employment Promotion

 Today we will start the caravan campaign for employment promotion and make rounds in Tottori Prefecture. At the same time, we would like to take requests to the prefectural administration regarding industrial development and the like, and utilize the requests for securing mid-term and long-term employment as well as temporary employment.

Agreement with Sotec Co.Ltd.

 An agreement with Sotec Co .Ltd., a moderately-sized computer company, has been signed to the effect that the company will move its production base to Kurayoshi City in central Tottori. This is likely to be the first case in which prefectural subsidization for employment of office workers, which we pioneered in our nation last April, will apply to a corporation. We would like to make the most of this system and promote employment to the fullest.

Prefectural Policy Advisors

 We are planning to appoint 7 national celebrities with ties to Tottori in various sectors as our prefectural policy advisors. I expect to hear opinions from them with regard to the overall prefectural administration, including visions for the future, attraction of enterprises, industrial development, tourism, and education.

Q. How and why were these 7 people selected as the advisors?

 We chose people whom we can consult frankly about Tottori Prefecture. Nationwide success also influenced the selection process to some extent.   However, I think it’s desirable that we ask them to hold the post not on a permanent basis but on terms of three years or so. It is my hope that we can utilize this policy advisor system from various angles and that voices from both inside and outside Tottori Prefecture will be reflected in the prefectural administration.

Q. A great number of the members were chosen from academic and corporate management sectors. Is the stagnation of industrial development and local economy reflected in the personnel selection?

 We place priority on industrial matters, which are most in need of outside help.

Q. Let me ask about the ship service across the Sea of Japan. How is it developing in South Korea?

 At this time, the reorganization of the consortium is being made on the Korean side. I have the impression that it’s progressing solidly to some extent. I hear that they are currently in the process of acquiring vessels as well. I expect that the chances are quite good that the ship service will still be launched. However, as it is beyond our power to make decisions on this matter, we can only stay hopeful while we watch the situation develop.

Q. Let me ask about the hydrogen sulfide issue. The toxic gas might be used not only for suicide but also for robbery or terrorism. Is Tottori Prefecture planning to draw up some sort of response manual?

 There are important issues to be discussed among three fire departments in Tottori Prefecture, in response to this latest case. Collaboration with the police department should also be ensured. I think a manual is necessary to ensure proper protocol, including that which pertains to responses to criminal acts using the gas.

Q. Following this response case, what do you have in mind as issues to be dealt with?

 In case such an event occurs in the future, it’s necessary to stockpile neutralizer for hydrogen sulfide in order to minimize the damage. It could be stocked in prefectural healthcare centers. Using the reserves held by the police authorities is also an option. We need to maintain checks and confirm that reserves are always on hand.

Q. May I have your comments on the results of the latest Japan-China Summit Meeting?

 The summit talk between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda would be regarded as symbolic of the growing cordiality between the two nations. It was expressed that close ties between Japan and China are essential for East Asia and the whole world. I expect there will be dynamic effects resulting from this meeting.  However, there is still a pile of issues that remain unsolved. We need to monitor how the national government will approach solutions to these issues.

Q. Following the enactment of a tax-related law last week, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced its budget for road construction, including nationally sponsored projects. What’s your evaluation of the budget?

 (The above mentioned tax-related law is “Special Taxation Measures Law.) Regarding Tottori Expressway, the full amount of 4.7 billion yen that we requested was allocated from the national government, but concerning Sanin Expressway, the allocated amount is about 10% short of the requested amount. We will make appeals to the national government for preferential treatment with regard to the subsidization rate and additional funding.  For now, I feel somewhat relieved that unofficial approvals (related to the budget allocation) have been made (from the national government). However, a great deal of issues remain to be solved, and we need to ask the national government for additional budget allocation this fiscal year under the current circumstances.

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